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Plant Facility Levy

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As the district's plant facility levy goes to vote May 20, here's a few reasons why you should vote 'yes.'

PROFILE: Lake Pend Oreille School District is Bonner County’s second largest employer, the state’s nineteenth largest school district, and contains 11 schools spread over a large geographic area with an economically diverse citizenship.

BACKGROUND: The Lake Pend Oreille School District has not passed a successful bond since 1953. There has been no successful plant and facility levy since 1987. The Idaho state average tax on $100,000 of net taxable valuation for homeowners over the past ten years, per year, for school construction levies is $159. Lake Pend Oreille School District patrons have paid $0. This has resulted in schools that are suffering from overcrowding and health and safety deficiencies. It has also resulted in facility related items being placed into supplemental levies that are designed for instruction. In short, facility issues are short-changing the instructional program. This spiral will continue unless the citizens support this first step.

THE MEASURE: A two year, $14.1 million Plant and Facility Levy will address health, safety and overcrowding issues across the district including asbestos removal, heating, ventilation, water and sewer upgrades, and fire alarm system upgrades. It will add classroom space at two schools where projected growth will occur. This work will create adequate and safe schools for children; not new and overbuilt, modern facilities. Capital equipment purchases will include school buses, technology infrastructure, and child nutrition equipment that meet federal guidelines. It will:

• Improve health and safety for children and staff

• Reduce the cost of operating district buildings

• Implement a district wide energy management system that will reduce costs

• Include a return on investment through utility savings, bus depreciation and other investments totaling $635,000.


Repeated defeat of levies, no matter the reason, reflect badly on the community, affecting property values, the ability to attract business start-ups, good teachers and general civic pride. The Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, Bonner County Economic Development Council and other civic groups fully endorse this levy. They understand that good schools create a good business climate.

As time passes, costs for repairs only escalate. Schools have no other mechanism in the state of Idaho to increase income for these repairs. Lake Pend Oreille School District’s bond equalization index disqualifies it for any possible state bond equalization funding.

Voting no on the levy will not send a message to the state. It will not solve the immediate problem.

Think about our children. Everything increases: growth rate; operating costs; utility and maintenance expenses. But one thing hasn’t increased since 1987 - available money for keeping our schools safe and functioning for our community’s children.

This levy, by the way, offers a dollar return on our investment. We will receive 4.5 percent (over half a million dollars) back from what we’ve spent. How can this happen? For example, the state reimburses us a portion of the cost of purchasing new buses - we will receive what amounts to a rebate of $233,035 on those purchases.

Technology improvements are estimated to save us approximately $80,000 in current labor expenses. We will get $260,869 back in utility rebates from boiler purchases and those new boilers are projected to save us $42,027 in utility costs. Finally, the digital controls are expected to save approximately $20,000 in labor costs with the maintenance department.

These are some of the many good reasons to vote yes on our proposed Plant Facility levy. The election will be held on Tuesday, May 20. Polls are open from 8 am to 8 pm. Polling locations include all schools except Sandpoint Middle School and Lake Pend Oreille Alternative High School. In addition, a polling place is open at the district’s administrative office, located on Triangle Drive in Ponderay. Absentee ballots can be obtained by calling the Clerk of the Board at 263-5053, ext. 214.

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Author info

Dick Cvitanich Dick Cvitanich is the Superintendent of Schools for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. He has been an educator for 33 years, and became superintendent for LPOSD in 2006. He was educated at the University of Washington where he earned a BA in History and a Superintendent's Credential. He has been married to Diane for 32 years and they have raised three sons who "taught us as much as we taught them." "I have a passion for public education and the role it plays in our democracy. In my free time I read, ski ... come to think of it, I don't have that much free time."

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